Hospital financial health in serious condition during COVID-19 crisis

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — On Thursday, Baptist Health announced that it will be reassigning employees, as well as furloughing and cutting the pay of others. It’s a move Dr. Syed Karimi, a health economist at the University of Louisville, is not surprised about.

“They’re losing almost all of their money,” said Dr. Karimi, referring to hospitals in general.

Much of the money generated within healthcare systems come from elective surgeries which are considered non-essential. Most of the attention now at hospitals is geared towards detecting and treating COVID-19.

“The healthcare demand is now focused on specific things,” Dr. Karimi said.

That is monopolizing time and resources.

The health economist believes that things will turn around by June when he says it’s expected the coronavirus will be behind us. If and when that happens, Dr. Karimi believes hospitals and healthcare systems will quickly make up lost revenue. It’s simple economics he said – supply and demand.

“I would think there is going to be an increasing demand for health services right after the pandemic,” Dr. Karimi said. “It’s easy to imagine that there’s going to be a surge in demand.”

The demand will be for those postponed elective surgeries and procedures. The supply of services just needs to keep pace.

“They’re going to be busy,” Dr. Karimi said. 

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